A special committee has been looking into way to solve baseball's parity problems, and one of the proposed fixes will blow your freaking mind. Picture realignment, every season, based on teams choosing the division they want to be in.
Before Murray Chass's head explodes, it's important to note that it's just an idea that's been floated. It's got many steps to go before it even gets close to being put on the table. That being said, still: holy shit.
The problem, as Bud Selig's crack 14-man team of managers and executives sees it, is that the AL East is that much stronger than any other division. The solution would be for teams like Toronto and Tampa Bay to make their cases that they deserve a crack at the postseason, and could move to the AL Central. Or, if there's no room there, the NL East. Yep, league-switching is in play. I'm sure the teams with a DH making eight figures will be thrilled with that.
But it gets odder. In the example Tom Verducci uses,
Cleveland, which is rebuilding with a reduced payroll, could opt to leave the AL Central to play in the AL East. The Indians would benefit from an unbalanced schedule that would give them a total of 18 lucrative home dates against the Yankees and Red Sox instead of their current eight.
This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea for two reasons. First, it's a fact that nothing ups revenue like winning. Being a perennial playoff contender is a much sounder fiscal strategy that 10 extra sellouts.
Second, this plan does nothing to address the competitive imbalance. A team with a tiny payroll in a weak division gets moved to a strong one, and this is supposed to do something other than widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots?
The strangest part of the proposal is the ability for teams to switch divisions up to two time zones away. The Rockies in the NL East! The White Sox in the NL West! The Blue Jays in the CFL! No one can convince me that Selig's committee didn't just sit around smoking weed and eating Funyuns when they came up with this.